Overcoming ED Challenges in a Relationship

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75% of Men Suffer from ED at Some Point in Their Lives

In some ways, intimacy works as a safety net in a relationship. At the core of intimacy is a genuine kindness felt toward a partner, which is of the utmost importance when challenges come up. What if, though, the challenge is, “it” won’t come up at all?

His Challenge: Oh No, E.D.

Though it likely doesn’t relieve the stress in the moment, men can take comfort in knowing that at least one report states that as many as 75% of men experience erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives. (Spark, 1991). That means, while this issue can feel overwhelming, it is very common, and yes there are things you can do to overcome it as well.

What Causes ED?

There are many reasons that ED affects a man’s performance, including:
1. Vascular conditions
2. Alcohol
3. Medications
4. Diabetes
5. Abnormal nerve function
6. Hormone deficiency
7. Removal of the prostate gland for cancer
8. Other surgical procedures
9. Peyronie’s disease
10.Illicit drugs
11. Smoking and diet, as contributing factors

ED Leads to Anxiety

The physical limitations of ED can create anxiety in men, causing a cyclical loop of physical and psychological symptoms. For example, if a man experiences a problem with an erection during one of his intercourse efforts, the next time he attempts intercourse the remembered failure manifests as a second episode of ED: a self- fulfilling prophecy.

There is an old school test to help indicate if the ED is a physical or psychological issue. Known as the “stamp test”, perforated, non- adhesive stamps are wrapped around a man’s penis before sleep to form a band. If the man is capable of having erections, the two or three that occur during REM sleep will tear the stamp band and suggest psychological cause.

There have been many advances in the treatment of ED, starting with the advent of the “little blue pill” (Viagra) and now expanding to several other brands including Cialis and Levitra. These drugs cause muscle relaxation, dilation of arteries, and blood inflow that brings about an erection upon arousal.

Given we live in a society where the expectation is for “real men” to be virile, confident and “alpha”, it’s often overlooked that they face many of the same insecurities and doubts as women. When performance troubles enter the bedroom, it can be a devastating blow to a secretly fragile ego, so partners should be cautious with any reaction, and take his lead.

Lack of Desire

Beyond erectile dysfunction, some men may feel a low sex drive. Almost as challenging as a lack of ability to perform, is a lack of interest in performing.

I had a client, James, who came to me concerned that his sex drive had diminished to a point that he wasn’t even remotely interested in a sexual relationship with his wife. Married for six years, their relationship had started incredibly hot and heavy but over the course of the last year, he had lost almost all interest. Erections weren’t the problem, but his desire to do anything with them was quickly becoming an issue in their marriage.

The first thing I had James do was see his doctor for a full checkup and have his testosterone levels checked. When that came back normal, we began investigating what was happening in his mind that may be influencing his lack of lust. At 36 years old, everything seemed to be going well. He enjoyed his job and maintained a comfortable level of success. He had a good circle of friends and hadn’t experienced any serious life changes recently. His physical health was actually above average as he was training for his first triathlon! He talked lovingly about his wife and shared her desire to have children, though his lack of sexual appetite seemed to making that goal feel further and further away.

Honestly, the more we talked the less insight I had into what might be causing his troubles. That is until I invited his wife, Carol, in to discuss how his problems were challenging their relationship.

Though a lovely young woman, Carol spent nearly the first hour of our conversation listing everything wrong with their relationship and how James continued to let her down. As I listened to her unload her frustrations, I watched James respond to her. He nodded in agreement but also seemed to shrink next to her. The more she talked, the less he looked at me.

She wasn’t being vicious, and held his hand as she spoke with tears in her eyes. It wasn’t until she paused to wipe away her tears that I asked her if she still loved her husband. She looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “Of course.”

I then turned to James and asked him to tell me about the last time Carol had given him a compliment. He stared at me for a long time before he simply shrugged and said, “I’m not sure she likes me anymore.”

Carol’s response to this was to add it to the list of flaws she had spent an hour outlining.

When I pointed out that I hadn’t heard a single compliment toward her husband since she had arrived in my office, she replied that she thought she was here to discuss what was wrong, not what was right.

James actually cracked a small smile and said, “I know what’s wrong. Everything.”

What’s interesting is that his half-joke inspired her to argue back with a list of things that were going right. Carol told him how amazing he was at his job, how dedicated he was about getting in shape for the triathlon and how her friends were constantly blown away by his kindness, generosity, and support of her own goals.

He listened to her rattle off all of his good qualities and then took her hand and said, “Thank you.”

While there might be physical or psychological problems at the base of decreased sexual desire that can only be treated with medical attention, there are also many factors to examine in terms of everyday life and personal relationships that will give us clues as to
how to reignite sexual interest. James simply needed validation, and he wasn’t getting it.

Realizing this was a huge turning point for James and Carol. They left this breakthrough session looking like friends again. In their follow up session, when I asked if things had improved in the bedroom, they both giggled and blushed, nodding like a couple of kids who
had been caught doing something naughty.

A feeling of success is important to a man’s wellbeing. Having a partner that expresses trust, acceptance and appreciation helps men to maintain a healthy level of testosterone. Stress and depression deplete testosterone, so it’s important to do an honest life evaluation
of what’s going on outside the bedroom.


Here are some activities from my book, The Sexy Little Book of Sex Games that can stimulate testosterone:

♥ Competition: Your relationship is the ultimate in teamwork and a little friendly competition can be healthy especially when it leads to lovemaking. This game is called Disrobing Desire. See how long it takes each of you to slowly disrobe each other and appreciate every new area of skin that gets exposed, teasing as you go to create incredible sexual anticipation. Kiss, caress, and nibble sexual and nonsexual areas as you give compliments to each other. Whoever takes the longest to disrobe is the winner.

♥ Setting deadlines: Set your timer for two minutes and then have a Tickle War as you tickle each other’s armpits, bare feet, ribs and tummy until the alarm goes off. You’ll both be winners as laughter releases chemicals that trigger happiness and is infectious bonding couples together.

♥ Planning an extravagant date: Rent a limo for the night and bring along a bottle of a bubbly, fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate, and set the mood with sexy music. If you tell the limo driver that you’re celebrating a special event, he or she will leave you two alone. Now that you’ve got your privacy you can truly enjoy the ride making out in that big, back seat like a couple of celebrities. But don’t stop there, get your money’s worth and go out for dinner followed by dancing while your Love Limo waits to take you back home.

♥ Animal Magnetism: Get into an animal posture and attitude by making the sounds and movements of your chosen animal. You can be a snake and slither all over your partner, a monkey playfully exploring him or her, a cat that snuggles, or any other animal you choose. If your partner guesses the animal you are, then he or she gets to choose what kind of animal he wants you to be in bed.

♥ A Quickie: For men quickies can be very exciting and satisfying and as long as the woman’s mind is aroused, her body will follow. Having a quickie in a new place that is off
limits can heighten the experience and raise the libido even more by releasing dopamine and testosterone. If sex in a public place is your fantasy, here are some tips on how and where to make it a reality, though you may want to take along the number of a good criminal defense attorney, just in case you get caught and arrested for indecent exposure!

♥ A shopping mall. Try sneaking into the public restroom or a dressing room when the coast is clear, but look out for the public cameras.

♥ On a train. Take the train at night when it’s on the last stop and find an empty train car, then snuggle up under a big blanket and have a quickie in spooning position.

♥ Coat Check. Whether it’s at a formal wedding or fancy hotel, there’s usually enough room and plenty of time to hide behind the coats for a quickie before people want to leave and ask for their coats back.


♥ Watch your favorite sports team. The good news is that your testosterone will spike if your team wins, but the bad news is that it will decline if they lose.

♥ Exercise increases your natural levels of testosterone so if your team loses, go to the gym and lift some weights. Testosterone levels are at their highest 48 hours after weight lifting.

♥ Sunlight exposure can increase your testosterone, but you only need about 20 minutes to raise levels, so don’t bake your body, as sunburn is bad for you.

♥ Masturbation is good for your health and your testosterone levels, so be good to yourself.


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